Venice, Florence, Tuscany
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Italy overflows with gorgeous vineyards and enchanting palaces, captivating artistry and fantastic cuisine, a land of secluded piazzas and stolen kisses, modern luxuries, and historical opulence. Bask in the endless romance of Venice and Florence during your custom tailored tour that will allow you to discover the charismatic frescoes and chambers once used by the powerful aristocracy. Stroll along medieval Tuscan cobblestone streets and glide down the Grand Canal on a private gondola ride. Witness...
Venice is a city of continued splendor and majesty that emanates from the former opulence of the Venetian Republic. Palaces line the waterway interspersed between neighborhood churches decorated with Veronese marbles. The cobblestone streets turn into labyrinths to provide locals with hidden piazzas and unforgettable charm. Your flight will arrive at Marco Polo International Airport, and your private transfer will greet you at baggage claim to escort you to the edge of the famous Grand Canal. Gondolas and vaporettos wind between antique homes and cafes set out tables and chairs to overlook the peaceful waters.
You and your partner will board a private boat, which will lead you directly to the hotel’s secluded dock where a representative will help you with your bags as you step onto the platform. The former 15th-century palace accommodation was refurbished to preserve its National Monument status while offering exceptional contemporary luxuries. The ballroom features a large fresco that brings opulence and bright hues to the gilded embellishments. You will be quickly immersed into the traditional Venetian lifestyle of art lovers, lavish comforts, and treasured romance.
The morning breathes new life into the Rialto Market. The square has been an active site of the city’s grocers since the 11th century as farmers and fishermen sold the fruits of their labor to locals. It’s a pleasure to watch the often-unnoticed movement of the market as it opens as vendors unload their crates of produce from barges and small boats and fishers place their fresh caught lobsters and clams on display. Your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby when you are ready, eager to take you over the 16th-century Rialto Bridge, the only footpath across the Grand Canal until the mid 19th century, and into the heart of St. Mark’s Square.
The beauty of St. Mark’s Basilica will stop you and your partner in your tracks. The wonder of Venice and its romantic ambiance is inherent in the cobblestone piazza and the bordering architecture. Bulbous Byzantine domes adorn the historical church, whose roots date back to the 9th century. Your guide will lead you first on an engaging tour of the Doge’s Palace to provide you with insight into the secret lives of the Venetian dukes and their colleagues. In the afternoon, the piazza calms as the pigeons famous for roosting along the cobblestones of St. Mark’s Square depart. The sun lingers over the shimmering spires of the Basilica, and your guide will take you beneath the frescoed arches of the exterior and through the porticos for an After-Hours tour of the famous religious site.
The aroma of frankincense will continue to fill the nave as candles flicker in the waning sunlight that spills through the windows along the main dome. Frescoes encompass more than 45,600 square feet of the Basilica, filling the interior with glistening gold and vibrant depictions of saints that date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. Your guide will draw your attention to the floor in that just as the ceiling portrayed heavenly beauty, the floor contains marble inlay rich with earth tones and geometrical patterns that highlights the intricate flora and fauna designs that celebrate the natural beauty of the earth.
In the morning, the familiar figures of the fish and produce vendors at the Rialto Market return to their stands. The golden figure at the top of the Campanile towers above the Doge’s palace at the height of more than 320 feet, topped with a golden weathervane that depicts the archangel, Gabriel. After breakfast, you will leave the city behind for a half-day tour of the celebrated Lison Pramaggiore DOC wine region, which spreads from the shores of the Adriatic Sea to the plains of the Piave River, with a touch to the rugged foothills of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia province. The marble facades of Venice will fade behind the rising trees of the countryside.
Vineyards take shape in the foreground and stretch to the base of the mountains in the distance. The earthy aroma of the vines adds to the fresh scent of the breeze that sweeps through the leaves. At your first winery, your guide will lead you through a short stretch of the vineyard to explain the importance of the terrain, the properties of which are absorbed into the grapes over time. In the tasting room, you will have a charming view of the countryside with the mountain peaks rolling across the sky. Your guide will pour your first sample, and the Verduzzo has a straw yellow hue with a distinctive aroma of acacia flowers and ripe melons. An elegant flavor with a semi-sweet note will linger on your palette.
When you return to Venice, you will meet a gondolier ready to guide you on a romantic journey through the canals. The paddle will add a soothing rhythm to your ride and blend with the splashing water against the bordering streets. Musicians in a café play music and overtake the ambient conversations of patrons sitting at the tables that overlook the canal. In the flickering street lamps, the city glows and makes your time on the water and with your partner ineffable.
In the morning, the beauty of the city glowing against the night’s darkness lingers in your thoughts. Life returns to the Rialto Market as people cross the bridge on their way to the vendors or en route to work. The scent of rich espresso overtakes the goods in the marketplace, emanating from the corner cafes spread across the city. Before visiting the splendor of the Venetian Gallerie dell’Accademia, you and your partner will visit the Squero San Trovaso boatyard. Gondolier craftsmen have spent hundreds of years crafting the iconic Venetian boat, a skill passed down through the family for generations. The Church of San Trovaso lingers above the boatyard on the opposite bank of the Trovaso River.
Venice’s Accademia Museum fills the galleries of the city’s former oldest art school, in a structure erected in the 14th century. The museum traces the trends and skills of Venetian artists between the 14th and 18th centuries, displaying works by Bellini, Tintoretto, and Titian. Climb the stairs to the Grand Gallery as a riot of color overtakes the first room. You will first notice Jacobello Alberegno’s Apocalypse, and then discover the splendor of Bellini’s Procession in St. Mark’s Square, which depicts a stunning view of the iconic piazza before its refurbishment in the 16th century.
In the morning, you will step onto the hotel’s private dock and board your private vaporetto to visit the islands of Murano and Burano. The refreshing breeze will brush over your cheeks to carry the aroma of the espresso and cappuccino that drifts from the nearby cafes. The Grand Canal bustles with activity, from gondolas slowly passing beneath the Rialto Bridge to speedboats ferrying locals to the office. You will reach the shores of Murano, the island famous for its glassblowing. Murano is a collection of seven islands linked by a network of bridges, and you and your partner can wander along the antique homes set beside moored fishing boats.
The quiet backstreets all inevitably lead you back to the main square of Campo Santo Stefano. A large glass sculpture beneath the soaring, 19th-century bell tower glows bright blue as shops set up their elaborate windows to showcase the works of local glassblowers. After exploring the island, you will visit one of the craftsmen to see the unique style of work celebrated by the outside world since the 13th century. The Venetian Republic coveted the artwork so much it enabled craftsmen to grow rich, nearing the prestige of nobility.
The glassblower will pull a thick metal pole from the kiln with glass the edge. The glass will glow red and orange with heat. Centuries ago, the Doge ordered all kiln off the main island of Venice due to worries that the entire island could catch fire. The concrete room maintains a cooler air and keeps fires to a minimum, yet you can feel the heat radiating from the kiln and the glassblower shapes the glass at its hottest point, while it remains malleable. After the demonstration, you and your partner will have a chance to create your own souvenir from Murano.
You have become familiar with the sounds of Venice in the morning, and you will enjoy the bustling market and the sounds of the water lapping against the banks of the canal. You will feel like a local as you indulge in the pleasures of the city you love. Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel’s private dock to escort you first to the mainland, and then en route to Florence. You will stop first in the illustrious city of Verona, known for its remarkable history, charming streets, and connection to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The city has embraced its relation to the star-crossed lovers by directing visitors to the home of Juliet Capulet.
Walk along the main street of Via Mazzini to pass through the beautiful rectangular shape of Piazza delle Erbe. A canopy with four columns dates back to the 16th century, and the marble fountain at the heart of the square was erected in the 14th century. The home of Juliet stands within a minute’s walk from the main square, framed by a wide arched tunnel that leads into the courtyard. Love letters written by visitors from around the world decorate the cracks and crevices of the tunnel.
A bronze statue of Juliet adorns the open courtyard and stands beneath the celebrated balcony—the latter of which was constructed in the 1930s. The story is so palpable that the city hires a team of secretaries to answer mail left for the legendary lover. Outside of Verona, you will continue to Mantua, a town surrounded on three sides by lakes that present a perfect storybook ambiance. Ducal Palaces line cobblestone squares and represent the grandeur of the 14th century Gonzaga dynasty. Romeo also heard of love’s fate while residing in the center of town.
Florence is a city for lovers of the Renaissance, whether in art, cuisine, architecture, or an enlightenment of the senses. In the morning, the stores along the Ponte Vecchio open their doors to passersby. Gold and silversmiths have populated the stores on the oldest bridge in the city since the 13th century. The Arno River sweeps beneath the arches to separate the historical center from the neighborhood known as the Oltrarno. After breakfast, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and lead you down the Via Calimala and the historical palaces with plaques that note their references in Dante Alighieri’s famous epic poem the Divine Comedy. The prestige of the Uffizi Gallery surrounds the rectangular courtyard that leads down to the bank of the Arno River.
The Medici’s erected the Palace as an office for the Florence magistrate in the 16th century. As patrons of the arts, the palace soon became a projection of the dynasty’s most prized works collected over the centuries. A marble stairway leads to the main hall as the windows let in natural light that glints against the gilded frames and marble statues that embellish the outer hallway. Your guide will explain that the galleries are curated over the years, allowing you to see how artists of a similar period worked. You will reach the galleries displaying the Golden Age of Florence and find Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.
Sharing one of the most notable artworks in Western Civilization with your partner will take your breath away. The 15th-century painting that depicts the goddess Venus born from a clamshell. The movement of the water and the humanistic features of the classic character highlights the shift in artwork from one-dimensional medieval forms to capturing the beauty of human characteristics. After enjoying the enchanting artwork and history of the Uffizi, you will venture next to the small town of Fiesole outside of Florence to meet your private chef eager to introduce you to the tastes of Tuscany.
The gorgeous emerald hills of Tuscany surround the city of Florence. Cypress trees rise above country roads as vineyards roll along the landscape over the hills and into the valleys. The golden sunlight washes over the countryside to highlight the picturesque Italian region. After breakfast, you will the celebrated streets of the preserved medieval towns of Tuscany, beginning with the Monte del Chianti. Chestnut and oak groves grow beside olive orchards as the aroma of rich soil emanates from the vineyards that grow the treasured Chianti grapes.
The streets of Greve, in Chianti, lead you to the arched colonnades that line the elegant piazza. Vines dangle across the facades of the old stone homes as flowerpots decorate windowsills and grow colorful hydrangeas. The 13th-century castle above town once held the town’s marketplace and was built with its strategic position along the pilgrimage roads. Artisan workshops contain a diverse collection of goods, from olive oil to a butcher shop opened in the 18th century.
You and your partner can sit and relax with a glass of wine and some local cheeses at a restaurant that overlooks the statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the explorer who discovered New York’s Hudson Bay. A cobblestone path leads you to the small, fortified village of Montefioralle, located on the hill above Greve. Back in Florence, your guide will lead you through the narrow streets of the Oltrarno neighborhood to introduce you to the artisan craftsmen who work in centuries-old shops and continue the traditions of their former teachers as they craft elegant jewelry, leather shoes, and ceramics.
In the morning, the cafes along the Arno River set out their tables and chairs to offer a view of the crew members as they row along the water. Patrons can linger in the quiet and enjoy the crowds in the distance as they wander over and around the Ponte Vecchio. Today you will have Florence and Tuscany at your leisure to enjoy the wonders of the countryside and the beauty of the city’s treasured museums. Venture next to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower or spend the day to stroll through the stunning blossoming flowers of the Pitti Palace gardens.
Move next to a guided tour of Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, a museum that houses an ensemble of sculptures, artwork, and musical instruments that date back to the 13th through 16th centuries. Your guide will lead you through the bright interior to trace the creative process of Michelangelo’s sculpting career. Four unfinished figures from the artist’s attempt at decorating the tomb of Pope Julius II remain in the gallery, along with an unfinished figure of St. Matthew.
The jewel of the collection shimmers beneath a vaulted ceiling separate from the sculptures and instruments of other artists. Your guide will lead you down a long hallway adorned with Michelangelo’s David, a symbol of liberty in Florence. The structure once stood in front of the Old Palace in Piazza della Signoria but has decorated the Galleries of the Accademia since the late 19th century. The stunning figure stands 17 feet tall and depicts the biblical hero in stoic fashion. Your tour of the artistic world of Florence takes you beyond the museums and into a workshop to learn the artistry of fresco accompanied by your partner and a glass of wine.
In the morning, the sunlight will wash over the gilded fresco that adorns the portico of San Miniato al Monte. Cypress trees frame the church and hide one of the oldest churches in Florence on the outskirts of the city center with a view of the skyline. Before you leave the city to explore the church, you can make your way to Piazza Michelangelo to bask in the gorgeous panorama that highlights the mountains in the background, the trees in the foreground, and the magnificent image of the city’s historical buildings as they soar into the air. When you are ready, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you and your partner to the Florence airport for your flight home.
In Italy, the pleasures never end. From the breathtaking artwork to the exceptional cuisine, your 10-day romantic tour will immerse you in culture and traditions that span millennia. From the banks of the Grand Canal in Venice to the brick red hues of the magnificent dome of Florence’s Cathedral, you will find romance around every corner as you share in the creation of art and wine with your partner. Your journey will begin with your arrival in Venice as your private transfer will escort you from the airport to the hotel’s private dock. After settling into the modern comforts of a historical palace hotel, you will have the remainder of the day to relax in the charms of the city on the lagoon.
Wake the next day and your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel to lead you on a tour of the city’s iconic sites. Traverse the grounds and hidden passages of the Doge’s Palace before embarking on an After-Hours tour of St. Mark’s Basilica, to offer you and your partner a chance to appreciate the splendor of the historical church without the crowds. The next day, you will make your way outside of town to the Lison Pramaggiore province for a private wine tasting tour. Sample the local delicacies before you return to Venice for a quiet gondola ride along the meandering canals. The following day, you will visit the boatyard and observe the crafting of gondolas before a tour of the art museums and historical churches of the city.
Move next to the islands of Murano and Burano for a combination of romance and artistry. Visit the lacework museum in Burano and enjoy a glassblowing demonstration in Murano. You will also have the opportunity to try your hand at crafting your own glass souvenir. The following day, you and your partner will be collected by your private transfer and taken west to Verona. You will enjoy a tour of the ancient city and a visit to the home of Juliet Capulet before an exploration of the storybook town Mantua en route to Florence. Begin the next day with a private tour of the Uffizi Gallery as the galleries map the transition of Florentine and Tuscan art through the ages. Continue to the hilltop town of Fiesole outside of Florence to enjoy a couple’s cooking class as you overlook the skyline of Florence.
The next day, you will traverse the stunning countryside of Tuscany to visit the remarkably preserved towns found amongst the Tuscan hills. Upon your return to Florence, you will visit the craftsmen on the Oltrarno to learn the secret history and unique techniques of the arts passed down through the generations. The next day is at your leisure to relish Florence and the Tuscan countryside as you desire. Enjoy a day of wine tasting or visit the classic Tuscan city of Lucca. You could also learn how to create a proper fresco during an art and wine class. Conclude as your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Florence Airport for your flight home.
$2,745 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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